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1 killed, 20 hospitalized after snowy 104-vehicle pileup on I-25 in Denver
First Published Mar 01 2014 03:23 pm • Last Updated Mar 01 2014 03:22 pm

One person was killed and 20 people were taken to three hospitals with injuries Saturday morning after a giant pileup on Interstate 25.

Denver police said 104 vehicles were involved in a string of accidents between Logan Street and University Boulevard that occurred as a heavy band of snow moved through town about 11 a.m.

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Police said that the northbound interstate is expected to be closed for hours.

Traffic was at a standstill for more than a mile after the crash. Nearby streets such as University Boulevard and Evans Avenue were bumper-to-bumper with diverted traffic.

Drivers and passengers that were not injured were being put on an RTD bus, according to 7News.

The snow had basically stopped in Denver by noon, but heavy snow had fell for about 40 minutes starting at 10:30 a.m.

In a statement, Colorado Department of Transportation said: "Denver roads remain icy and snow packed. CDOT remains on full snow shift with approximately one hundred snow plows and four large tankers dispersing product and clearing the roadways of snow and ice. Crews will continue to work twelve hours shifts, around the clock until the roads are completely clear of snow and ice. Crews are applying a combination of liquid and solid de-icing and anti-icing products. With the recently fluctuating temperatures along the Front Range, roadways are extremely icy. Motorists are encouraged to use caution and slower speeds."

Earlier, in the mountains, state officials closed westbound lanes of Interstate 70 at Silverthorne and Vail Pass after treacherous road conditions triggered numerous accidents Saturday morning, authorities say.

I-70 reopened at Silverthorne about 10 a.m., but officials said the roads remained slow going. Vail Pass reopened about 1:45 p.m

"It’s icy, it’s snowpacked, it’s drifting," said Mark Altman, spokesman for the CDOT. "There’s poor visibility."

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The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said on Twitter at 10 a.m. that between 6 and 8 inches of snow had fallen between Vail Pass and Georgetown since 5 a.m.

"It’s going to take some time to clear this up, especially if it keeps snowing like this," said Trooper Nate Reid, spokesman for the Colorado State Patrol.

In the mountains, CDOT instituted what it calls "wave escorts," in which troopers lead large lines of cars and trucks up the mountain and through the Eisenhower Tunnel. After one wave passes, an angled line of plows clear ice and snow before the next wave is cleared to go.

The waves, which ensure that traffic moves steadily up the mountain without starts and stops that lead to lengthy delays, were expected to continue well into the evening, transportation officials say. People should be prepared for stops in Silverthorne and Frisco until they become part of a wave of traffic.

Loveland Pass remains closed with no estimated time for reopening, according to a CDOT news release.

Although Vail Pass was opened around 1:45 p.m., road conditions are keeping speeds very slow. Extreme delays are expected.

CDOT workers urged winter travelers to pack water, blankets, windshield wiper fluid, hand warmers and nonperishable food items in their vehicles.

The snow was steady in the northern part of the metro area and the cities of Boulder and Thornton were on accident alert.

"The heaviest band happened to be focused over Longmont and Boulder," National Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Fredin told the Daily Camera Saturday morning.

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